Lina Niu Wins Record-Breaking WPT Ladies Championship
- Lina Niu’s victory came with a $105,136 top prize payout
- She overcame a tough final table to claim first live tournament win
- The tournament featured the biggest guarantee in history for a ladies’ event
The World Poker Tour (WPT) Ladies Championship has crowned its newest winner, Lina Niu an entrepreneur from Canada. Niu fought her way through a field of 578 female players to claim the title along with $105,136 in top prize.
Niu Dominates Tough Final Table
What makes the win extra special for the 38-year-old is that it marks her first-ever live tournament victory, and she also earned some bragging rights for winning the largest-guaranteed ladies’ tournament in poker history.
The WPT Ladies Championship featured $200,000 in guaranteed prize money, but it was easily smashed, with the final prize pool reaching $560,660, nearly thrice the advertised guarantee.
It wasn’t an easy victory for Niu. She entered the final table as the chip leader but lost it during the early stages of the final battle. Add to that the fact that she was up against some of the world’s best female poker players, such as Kathy Liebert and Jamie Kerstetter.
As a live tournament newcomer, it was easy to get intimidated by such a tough final table line-up, but the Canadian poker player kept her composure and waited patiently for her comeback.
Final Table Results
The tide began to turn in Niu’s favor after Kerstetter (6th, $21,934) and Liebert (5th, $28,847) left the table.
Cindy Spier was next out, finishing 4th for $38,350, followed by Dusti Smith who took home $51,538 for her 3rd-place finish. After Smith’s exit, Niu only had one player left to get rid of to secure the title – Olga Iermolcheva, the 2017 European Poker Tour (EPT) Sochi Ladies Champion.
Iermolcheva is a far more experienced player than Niu. She’s been battling it out at the live felts since 2012 and has reached multiple final tables, which means she was no easy opponent for Niu. She showed early in the game that she was the player to beat, winning plenty of huge pots.
Niu herself was worried about facing Iermolcheva heads-up but the tournament was destined for her as she managed to outclass the Ukrainian pro with the right combination of skill and luck.
In the final hand, Iermolcheva moved all in with pocket nines. Niu called with Ac6c. Niu turned an ace to make her victory official, as her Ukrainian opponent settled for second place with $70,008 in winnings.